MBA Experience Interview: Sambit Subhrajyoti Pradhan shares experience at IIFM Bhopal Campus
Ranjini Basu, 30 Jan 2019, #IIFM
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Sambit Subhrajyoti Pradhan, an engineer, joined Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal  with an objective of gaining insights about the development sector. He opted for specialising in developmental management and got enrolled in the PGDFM batch of 2017-19. A voracious reader who frequently takes active part in discussions states that the unique curriculum synced with industrial interfaces and illustrious faculty summarise the management experience at IIFM Bhopal.

Sambit, in this interview with Careers360, draws an evocative picture of IIFM Bhopal campus including campus life, ambiance, cultural activities, social clubs, and other campus related details. Sambit has been placed at Spandana Spoorthy Finance Limited. Initially, he will join them as a management trainee and post that will be designated as the Associate Vice President in the Operations Department. He affirms his successors about the 100 percent success of IIFM placements and requests all to give in their best to get back the best from the institute.

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Read the excerpts below to know about Sambit Subhrajyoti Pradhan’s IIFM experience-          

Careers360: What are the factors that led you to join IIFM Bhopal or pursue Forest Management as a specialisation?

Sambit: Having worked in the development sector with graduation in engineering, I had a realisation that I need to undergo a theoretical orientation regarding the concepts and framework of this particular domain. I wanted to have a managerial perspective regarding the planning and execution of the developmental programmes at the grassroot level as well. After having discussions with some of my colleagues, (a few of them were from IIFM), I came to a conclusion to pursue my post-graduation specialising in developmental management and IIFM seemed to be the best choice for my learning objectives.


Careers360: How is the campus life at IIFM? Is it all packed up in a routine or equally divided between fun and study? What is the best thing about your campus, something that differentiates it from the rest?

Sambit: The campus life at IIFM is very different from other management institutes. It gives an opportunity to the students to explore themselves and where they want to land at the end of the programme. The interaction with the faculties and the interactive sessions with the alumni at regular intervals facilitate the process. The library is a wonderful place here which gives a chance to the student to explore various areas of interest. The routine is not just packed up with classroom sessions, but also includes assignments which give a practical orientation to the theories studied in the classroom sessions. The assignments also inculcate the qualities of teamwork and leadership among the students. The best thing about the curriculum is it is designed based on the present market conditions and the faculties are one of the best in the countries in their subject areas.


Careers360: How is the industry-academia sync maintained at IIFM Bhopal? Share some insights. Are you taken to field visits often? If yes, share your experience.

Sambit: There are many courses floated which require students to have practical experience of the theories taught to appreciate the beauty of them and learn about the working, strengths, pitfalls about those frameworks. For this, the students are taken to field nearby and in and around Bhopal to try out the frameworks for themselves and present their findings to the concerned faculties for feedback. 

The programme also includes two field trips, one in each year. Students are exposed to the real world and they learn for themselves how the theories taught in class work at the ground level.

 The first field trip is designed as an immersion program in collaboration with a host organisation where the students stay in a village and carry out various PRA (participatory rural appraisal) tools for collection of data. The findings and report are presented to the host organisation and our concerned faculties. 

The second fieldwork focuses on learning the various kind of frameworks and models used by various organisations in implementing their programmes and carrying out operations. This fieldwork is also done in collaboration with a host organisation for two weeks. People from industry also come to the institute for guest lectures on various topics related to the course studied here.


Careers360: Tell us something about the campus of IIFM. How is the ambience or environment different from other B-schools?

Sambit: IIFM campus is one of the most beautiful campuses of our country. The location over a hilltop which is full of greenery gives a conducive atmosphere for the students to have a wonderful learning experience through the period of the programme. It’s very silent, serene and there a lot of spots to enjoy the beauty of nature, which I guess, is a rare phenomenon in academic campuses. IIFM Bhopal has well equipped new-age classrooms, library and a central computer facility for the students. The hostels are one of the best things of the institute with spacious rooms, WiFi and LAN facility for every room, gym and common room. The mess is one of the best in the country serving various cuisines.


Careers360: Tell us something about cultural fests, business/sports competitions held in IIFM.

Sambit: Several cultural and sports activities keep us busy and rejuvenated during the tenure of study. The IIFM’s cultural fest is called “Kalpataru.” It is a three-day event held annually in the institute which gives the students a relaxing atmosphere from their busy schedule. Lots of events and competitions are held by various clubs, which are fun, and followed by cultural performances in the evenings.


“Coalescence” is the annual management conclave at the institute. Various professionals from the industry are invited and students get firsthand learning through their experiences in forms of talks and workshops. 


“Reminiscence”, is yet another big event at the institute where the silver jubilee batch is invited and they relive their memories at IIFM. It also provides a platform for interaction of the present batches with the alumni. 


“Environmental Literacy Campaign” is a campaign done by the students of IIFM to spread the message of environmental issues and literacy to the masses. This campaign involves Nukkad Natak, bicycle marathon, quiz competitions for the school children, workshops to involve all age groups in the campaign.


A cricket match and a football match is held on the Republic Day and Independence Day respectively every year between the senior and junior batch. Various other sports tournaments of cricket, badminton, table tennis are held annually for both boys and girls.


Careers360: What are the different committees or clubs at IIFM? Are you a part of any such club or committee?

Sambit: IIFM has several clubs and cells to involve students in co-curricular activities along with their course studies. Sports club, literary club, cultural club, C2EC3 (Climate Change and Environment Core Competency Cell), EDC (Entrepreneurship Development Cell), Adventure club, dramatics club are the ones where students are members and are involved in various activities throughout the year. 

There is a student placement and summer internship committee as well I was a member of the summer internship committee and literary club.


Careers360: What do you do when you are not studying or not attending the classes?

Sambit: Apart from the classroom sessions, I like spending time with my friends having discussions on various topics related to the current news and classroom sessions at the library lawn or the canteen. The library is one more place where I like to spend time reading magazines and books.


Careers360: What are some of the popular hangout spots of the IIFM students?

Sambit: Library lawn, mess lawn, the IIFM Annona Squamosa (signature spot) and canteen are the major hangout spots at the campus.


Careers360: Tell us something about the hostel life? What makes it special from other hostels?

Sambit: The hostel life is excellent at IIFM. The rooms are spacious with an attached balcony to enjoy the weather. All rooms are two seated with WiFi and LAN facilities, and separate bathrooms allotted for each room. The rooms are well-furnished with attached balcony. The corridors are common hangout spots where we have our chats and discussions.


Careers360: What is the placement process followed in your institute? How does IIFM prepare you for it?

Sambit: We have a placement week at IIFM where various organizations participate in the recruitment process. Every organisation has their own process for recruitment, but it’s generally a written test, followed by case study, group discussion and personal interview. We have courses related to personality development and communication in our curriculum. Additionally, the institute also conducts workshops to enhance the skill sets of the students in CV/resume writing, GD and PI sessions to prepare for the IIFM placements. Students also form groups among them have regular group discussions on current topics.


Careers360: The placement process at your institute has been concluded. Which company and profile have you been placed?

Sambit: Yes. As every other year, the placement process has successfully concluded. I am placed at Spandana Spoorthy Finance Limited. Initially, I will join them as a management trainee and post that I will be working as the Associate Vice President in the Operations department.


Careers360: What are your career plans after completing the programme? Which sector and function would you like to pursue? Do you have any dream company in mind?

Sambit: I joined IIFM with an objective of gaining insights about the development sector and I will pursue my career in this sector only. IIFM has given a great opportunity to me and I want to bank on it. I am planning to work on the ground level initially to know the realities of the functioning and shift to planning and consulting at a later stage. My main aim will always be to work on something where I can give back to society.


Careers360: The batch of 2019-21 will join soon. What would be your message for your juniors?

Sambit: IIFM is a great place where the students can utilise the two years in exploring themselves where they want to be. The institute renders opportunity to explore the environmental and other related sectors through the field work, assignments and courses. The faculties, industry interfaces, library and workshops further facilitate this process. It prepares one to become a professional who contributes back to society. Don’t worry about the placements, it’s guaranteed, we have a 100 percent placement record. Come here to learn, give your best and I guarantee IIFM will give back the best to you.

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